Mom passed peacefully at our home this morning, Thursday, August 5th. It was our privilege to have her with us since April 2020 when Covid broke out in her nursing home.
She had a great summer last year, going to the beach every week, watching lots of baseball and cuddling with the Cuddler. This summer was a little rougher, but she was comforted by her aides Jenny and Cerona who kept her comfortable watching Zoo Babies and Zoo Juniors as she slowly ate her breakfast and her afternoon apple sauce. Mom always thanked her aides and my partner Jen when they fed her and changed her. She was the epitome of sweetness!
Cathy was an accomplished woman, a graduate of Tufts University Boston School of Occupational Therapy. Her first job out of college was working in the as an occupational therapist in Boston’s Polio Wards, helping those in the Iron Lung. In the late 1950s she went back to school, earning a Masters Degree in counseling from Columbia University Teacher’s College. Shortly thereafter she took on the position of Head of Occupational Therapy at Orange Memorial Hospital.
She met my father at a dance in Manhattan, and he walked her back to the Port Authority Bus terminal. The rest is history, literally. She broke the mold of her WASP upbringing to marry a working-class Jew from Pittsburgh/Brooklyn. This was simply not done in the early 1960s, but she didn’t care. Nor did she care when my dad, who was not the kind of man to buy flowers or whisper sweet nothings, proposed sans ring, and then opened his check book, saying, “Buy whatever ring you want.” So she went to Tiffany’s and got herself a set of relatively inexpensive platinum rings.
After marriage, she devoted herself to raising me and my sister Nancy, and taking care of her own mother in her later years. She was the ultimate mom, a little overprotective, but she always had our best interests at heart. After we graduated from high school, she renewed her OT license and went to work at the Baptist Home in Rhinebeck, New York, where she could keep an eye on her mother. In later years, she devoted herself to my father’s care, up to his passing in 2008. Even before he got sick, she had already made the master bathroom handicapped accessible, widening the door and installing grab bars. She was always planning ahead. So, when she moved back to New Jersey in 2009, she enjoyed exploring her new neighborhood in Clifton, driving around in her Toyota Matrix, with her small frame barely visible in the front drivers seat. She also made friends with all the servers at Marios Restaurant, just down the street from her apartment building.
When she could no longer live on her own, she moved to Daughters of Miriam in Clifton, where she stayed until the outbreak of Covid 19. Then we (Jen and I) brought her home.
After her taking care of so many, it was our turn to take care of her. She loved staying up watching the Mets and eating ice cream, just as my dad had done. We are glad that she passed at home enveloped in our love and that of Nummie (cuddler). Before her passing, she had several conversations with my late dad. She kept asking him when the lamb would be ready and whether he had set the table. I hope somewhere in heaven they are having that lamb dinner on the table she was asking him to set for her.
We invite all to come visit with us at our home, 280 Franklin Street, Bloomfield on Friday, August 13th from noon—7pm.
A graveside service which will be held on Monday, August 16th at Hillside Cemetary in Scotch Plans. Those who plan to attend may assemble at 11am at the O’Boyle Funeral Home, 309 Broad Street in Bloomfield.